Fife-based whisky distillery's spirit comes of age

Kingsbarns Distillery, based in Fife's East Neuk, has revealed that the first casks it filled on March 23rd 2015 came of age this month, and can now be called Scotch Whisky

Published 26th Mar 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The Wemyss family's fledgling Fife distillery visitor centre was opened to the public on St Andrews Day 2014, with spirit distillation beginning in January 2015.

After a few months perfecting the spirit style, the distillery manager, Peter Holroyd, filled the first casks  on March 23rd 2015. 

Initially all the casks selected were first fill ex Bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky.

The very first cask filled is on display for visitors to see  in the oldest part of the farm steading visitor centre called the doocot.

Picture: TSPL

Scotch whisky has to be matured in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years and a day in a bonded warehouse in Scotland, so sadly unlike all the other casks of maturing spirit, this first cask will never be able to be called Kingsbarns Single Malt Scotch Whisky. 

However, to give a preview of what is to come, Peter  Holroyd took the chance to take a sample from this first cask to celebrate its 3rd birthday: "I was very proud to fill this first cask from the spirit I distilled three years ago and am delighted to see the impact that it has had on the colour.

"On the nose I get custard and apricot Danish pastry, but you still get the Kingsbarns light fruity character.

"On the palate, there is a wonderful balance of spirit and wood and you can really taste the Kingsbarns signature style."

Picture: Peter Holyrood and the Kingsbarns spirit, supplied

William Wemyss on behalf of the family owners stated: "This is a very exciting time for us at Kingsbarns Distillery uniting the excellent quality barley from local Fife farms, the attention to detail in distilling and the great effort dedicated to acquiring the finest casks for maturing our precious spirit.

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"Now that we have reached the minimum legal age, we can move forwards to sample whisky from our early casks and make some choices regarding the first bottling of our new Lowland malt."

The first release of Kingsbarns Single Malt Scotch Whisky will be exclusively available to Kingsbarns Founders’ Club members and expected in summer 2018.

The Distillery is also home to Darnley's gin, which 'came home' last year and is now distilled in Fife alongside the fledgling whisky.

For more information on the whisky, visitor centre and how to become a member, please visit the Kingsbarns Distillery website.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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